Covington was the only victim in the accident during which his vehicle left the road in Palm Springs, California, and drove head-on into a wall.
Bystanders report there was no sign that he had tried to brake before impact. One witness attempted to perform CPR but the drummer was pronounced dead at the scene.
Covington co-founded Hot Tuna with Jefferson Airplane members Paul Kantner, Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen. He recorded on Airplane’s album Volunteers later that year, then in 1970 became their permanent sticksman after the departure of Spencer Dryden.
He wrote and sang 1971 hit Pretty As You Feel then left the band the following year. In 1976 he worked on Jefferson Starship’s Spitfire album and later toured with his band The San Francisco Allstars.